'I'm coming to the light': Award-winning Egyptian Al-Araby TV journalist Mohamed Aboelgheit dies after battle with cancer
Egyptian journalist Dr Mohamed Aboelgheit (1988-2022) died on Monday morning, two days after entering a coma, a year after being diagnosed with cancer.
Aboelgheit was a popular staff member at Al Araby TV channel, based in London, since its inception. He worked as a programme producer and penned a weekly article for Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper for several years.
In August 2021, Aboelgheit announced on Facebook he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and that the tumour had spread to his lymph nodes in other parts of his body.
Aboelgheit documented his difficult experience with the disease through long and detailed posts on his Facebook account. His wife Esraa Shehab announced his death in London at dawn on Monday, where he lived with her and his child.
"At dawn today Egyptian journalist and doctor Mohamed Aboelgheit (1988-2022) died, two days after entering a coma after being diagnosed with cancer just over a year ago"
Aboelgheit's media career began in Egypt working with many different institutions, the most prominent being ON TV and Al-Shorouk newspaper. He spent time as a reporter for US-based channel Alhurra, before moving to Al Araby TV. He also worked with the ARIJ (Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism) network.
His journalism career followed his departure from a professional career as a medical doctor, which began in 2012 at the Imbaba General Hospital in Cairo.
During his career, Aboelgheit won several prizes for his investigative work, including:
- The Mustafa Al-Husseini Award in 2013 for young Arab journalism, for his article 'As if nothing had happened', published in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.
- In 2014, The Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press, awarded in Beirut by the European Union for his article 'Season of the Living Dead', published in Al-Shorouk.
- In 2019 he won the UN Correspondents Association's Ricardo Ortega Award for Audio-Visual Journalism, for his cross-border television investigation 'The End User'. This revealed how ten Western states were breaching bilateral contracts to sell weapons, violating relevant international laws, which led to the illegal sale of arms to various parties to the conflict in Yemen.
- In 2020 he won the Fetisov Journalism Award's 'Outstanding Contribution to Peace' category, alongside journalists Nick Donovan and Richard Kent. This was for their investigation on the secret financial network of the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan (previously the Janjaweed militia).
- In 2021, he received the 'Excellence in Journalism' award from the Heikal Foundation for Arab Journalism for his investigative work on Syria and Yemen.
Aboelgheit took part in several collective investigations, most prominently the major investigation with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) carried out by 63 journalists around the world on the "Swiss Leaks".
Aboelgheit contributed by collecting, translating, editing and publishing the Swiss Leaks, which revealed details of a giant tax evasion scheme involving the offshore bank accounts of prominent personalities, including presidents and kings around the world.
Proud to be one of the team who worked on this story of a complex financial and political networks in 3 continents.— mohamed abo-elgheit (@MohAboelgheit) September 27, 2022
Thanks to my colleagues who helped me during the rough time i am going through now. https://t.co/5eiOR2tLGM
Aboelgheit passed away a few days before the release of his book 'I'm Coming to the Light' where he recounted his experience with illness, among other comments and insights.
Aboelgheit wrote about the book: "You won't find me writing a patient's diary; instead I write about events and feelings, what I experienced and learned - an autobiography for myself and my generation as well. Without realising, my writing crosses from the specific to the general, and moves from scientific explanations to news of political developments, and from refuting myths about so-called alternative medicine to commentary on Queen Elizabeth's death, a meditation on life and death.
"If by some miracle I am saved, I will seek that light with which my experience and appreciation have increased in the days of my illness, and will give what I can in gratitude for being so fortunate in having a wife who radiates light, as do my father and mother, and many friends whose light reassures me that there truly is good in the world. And if fate limits my time to what the doctors have determined, I hope that after my death there will be light and calm, and that this book will give some light to whoever reads it."
As news of his death spread, a large number of his current and former colleagues, as well as Arab bloggers and tweeters, mourned him.
أسرة التلفزيون العربي تنعى الزميل الصحفي #محمد_أبو_الغيط الذي وافته المنية صباح اليوم في لندن بعد صراع طويل مع المرض pic.twitter.com/D6UR8jZNa9— التلفزيون العربي (@AlarabyTV) December 5, 2022
Translation: The AlAraby TV family mourns their colleague journalist #Mohamed Aboelgheit #محمد_أبو_الغيط who passed away this morning in London after a long struggle with illness.
This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition. To read the original article click here.